December in Carmel: Stay, Eat, Drink, Shop

I’ve said it before, but December in Carmel is sure something special.  As much as I love Carmel, I love this sweet beach town even more during the holidays.  The Christmas lights and beachy themed-holiday décor give such a magical feel to the already charming Ocean Ave.  And there are far less tourists this time of year which makes you feel like you have the place to yourself.  We’ve been making this December Carmel trip happen for the past few years now.  We go back to all of our usual haunts, and plan nothing except for morning beach walks.  I love that everything remains the same year after year, giving me that dose of childhood nostalgia.  This trip was night and day in comparison to the last time we were here (this very same weekend last year) with a two week old baby (as opposed to a 1 year old).  On the drive down I was thinking wow, I can’t believe we came when Rex was just two weeks old last year.  And this trip we drove home absolutely exhausted (Rex didn’t sleep much) yearning for those two week old baby days when Rex just slept in my wrap and we actually had a meal where we could carry on a conversation.  As non-vacation like as it seemed, it really was a fun couple of days.  Plus, my girlfriend Sam (Could I Have That?) was in town as they were escaping the Santa Barbara fires, so we got some spontaneous hang time together which was a treat.

We’ve stayed at a number of hotels over the years and switched things up again this trip staying at: Hotel Carmel.  There are pros and cons to all of the various hotel spots in town but this newly designed gets our vote of approval for sure.  First, a plus for bigger rooms, which was awesome for fitting in the pack n’ play.  The trendy lobby is super cute-they serve bagels for breakfast and a wine happy hour in the evenings (as do a lot of the other hotels). It’s located just up the hill a few blocks from Ocean Ave.  If we were to come again as a family we would totally stay here, however with just T, we love the Cypress Inn as it feels so classic Carmel to us.  Right in the heart of town.  Another newbie for us was branching out of our usual dinner eats and trying Cultura.  Oh my gosh, so flavorful, so yummy!  Order the yams and enchiladas.

We also made it to the aquarium this time around.  I hadn’t been in I can’t even remember how many years and while Rex is still a little young it was fun to hear him ooh and ahh over the fish.  He was terrified of the otters though which gave us a chuckle.


Favorite Carmel Spots:

Stay:  Cypress Inn, Hotel Carmel, Pine Inn

Coffee:  Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Co.

Breakfast:  Katy’s Place

Lunch:  Forge in the Forest (sit outside)

Dinner:  La Bicyclette,  Casanova,  Cultura

Sunset Glass of Wine: Mission Ranch

Shopping: GBG, Paloosh

Sweet Treat:  Cottage of Sweets


What to pack |  Layers for sure!  That sunshine is deceiving and it’s still pretty brisk in the mornings and evenings so I lived in my oversized plaid jacket, sweatshirts and a light puffer vest underneath.


(Rex always taking his socks and shoes off.)

Tanner saved me on Sunday morning when Rex woke up to play at 2am (#why?!), and later took him out for an early morning walk so I could sleep in.  I’ve mentioned our love for our UPPAbaby before… but just in case you missed it… we love our UPPAbaby strollers!  We have two (yes that’s how big of a fan I am), the Vista and the Cruz.  The Cruz is slightly smaller and what we keep in the car / take with us when traveling.  It’s gone with us to Palm Springs, LA, and even made the trek to London this past September.  Key for getting through those airports.  I love how much storage the base basket has and so I just pile all of our things in and this way we’re able to stay on-the-go all day without having to go back to the hotel room.

What to Pack | Our Baby Travel Essential s

guide to carmel: stay, eat, shop, drinkguide to carmel: stay, eat, shop, drink






This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of UPPAbaby. The opinions and text are all mine.




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